Iveco says, hey big tipper
Italian make shows off the Powerstar 6400, a custom job with payload-plus
WHEN you think of tipper trucks, the brands most likely to pop into your head are Kenworth, Mack and maybe Western Star.
Italian brand Iveco wants to be considered too and is putting extra focus on its ability to build custom tipper trucks at its factory in Dandenong, Victoria.
Working Wheels climbed aboard a special Powerstar 6400 with a gross weight rating of 50 tonnes to see how it works as a tipper.
This 6x4 truck usually runs a tipper trailer but that wasn’t available so we drove it as a rigid truck with a tipper body.
Iveco’s selling point is based on both the ability to come up with a special one-off truck for a customer but also its lightweight nature.
The company says the Powerstar is 400kg-500kg lighter than rivals, which means more payload for the tipper.
Iveco describes the Powerstar as a Meccano setup that can be customised. For example, our truck has a 5m wheelbase but the dimension can be from 6.2m down to 4.5m.
Ours has a bottom-mounted exhaust so the tipper body can be moved closer to the back of the cab where the regular exhaust stack would normally sit, for better weight distribution.
The truck is fitted with a lot of lightweight gear including optional Alcoa alloy wheels, light alloy hubs and lighter brake drums.
If a customer wants a heavier-rated truck there are options to increase the sturdiness of the frame.
Another relatively light feature is the 13-litre Cursor engine under the bonnet. It looks tiny in the engine bay, which is designed to fit a 15-litre Cummins (for the higher-rated highway hauling Powerstars).
The Cursor effectively matches the performance of the larger and heavier Cummins and pumps out a healthy 418kW/2494Nm.
It certainly gets up and goes when you plant the foot and if the guys at Iveco didn’t tell me we were loaded up close to our maximum weight I would have guessed it was half empty.
This tipper is designed for urban work, which means it runs relatively small fuel tanks (360L) to keep weight down and gear ratios are optimised for lower-speed work. It does about 1500rpm at highway speeds but is still pretty quiet.
With the optional ZF 16- speed automated manual transmission, there’s no clutch pedal and I simply select drive and pull away.
It is a quality transmission and the shifts are faster than I could manage with a manual. The other advantage is that it doesn’t crunch, either.
Low-speed crawling in load bays and tight spaces can be a problem in automated trucks but this one has a crawler function. I hold down the Drive button on the dash for a couple of seconds to go forward or the Reverse button to go back — the truck proceeds very slowly, regardless of how far the accelerator is depressed.
The 6400’s cabin is absolutely huge, especially with no centre console. Iveco has installed the new Stralis cab interior and it is modern and, for a truck, stylish. It is also practical and everything is within reach and the steering wheel has audio controls.
The only thing missing is a hill-holder (in some rivals, this function is included in the electronic braking setup).
As it stands, the automated manual lets the truck roll back when I take my foot off the brake but I soon get used to using the park brake until the power builds up. The truck is otherwise very easy to drive.